GPS waypoint:10°41'13.99"N 124°27'04.36"E Location: San Jose (barangay), Poro (municipality), Camotes Islands, Cebu (province), Philippines Fee: free
Road Trip Coming from Bukilat Cave, I continued by bicycle ride going north into the marine sanctuary of Villahermosa, the port of Puertobello and finally to San Jose - a barrio said to have a few natural spring water sources.
Ms. Joy of Poro Tourism Showing up in town, a fresh new face, speaking Tagalog (historically, Cebuanos don't like Tagalogs...for good reason) and asking around for fresh spring water source in an obscure barrio like San Jose could very well generate suspicion. If I did the same thing in the Kalinga region of the Mountain Province where its history is marred by violence due to incursion into their water source by unwelcomed developers, I may not come out alive. To dissipate any potential tension, I had to namedrop Ms. Joy, Poro's tourism officer. She was the one who told me about San Jose's spring water source. Joy is well-known and well-respected. Not only did it dissipate any suspicion, it opened doors. People were suddenly forthcoming about their springs, even giving me directions.
Capasanan Spring Capasanan Spring wasn't too hard to find, being just off the town proper and along a well paved road. It's a pool about the size of a hotel room in an open field, about waist deep. The water is crystal clear, refreshing and perhaps even safe to drink. I would have, given my penchant for spring water, but I got mixed advice. Some locals say it's safe to drink but some said it 'used' to be safe for drinking.
Water Buffaloes Just downstream from the actual spring was a deep stream where carabaos (water buffaloes) were leisurely immersed in their afternoon indulgence. They came out with a shiny black coat. I haven't seen carabaos with such sheen.
The Little Girl I was all by myself until a little girl got curious and watched me from a distance. I offered her some hopia I was munching. She got a few and got comfortable. By the end of it, she was leaning hard on me to get herself inside my selfie shots!
Ending Thoughts I love this spring. It's clean, pristine and it's free! It's untouched by tourists and you can have it all for yourself.
Camotes Islands is a group of islands composed of 4 municipalities:
San Francisco - this is the biggest municipality covering the West major island. Its town center is the busiest with the market, eating places, live music and the Baywalk. The beach resort clusters, however, are concentrated in Santiago Bay, Mangodlong and Esperanza
Poro - Poro is on the other big island to the East. It has its own port and the town center is likewise busy
Pilar - this occupies the small north east island
the busy area where most of the social gatherings take place, eating places, is located at the Baywalk area of San Francisco, 30 mins by motorcycle from the Consuelo Port. Travellers usually stay in their resort outside the Baywalk
the resorts in Camotes Island are scattered around the island. There are none around the Baywalk area of San Francisco
perhaps the only downside to Camotes Island is the inescapable deafening sound of karaoke - it is played very loud and it's everywhere. In Baywalk, there are 3 karaoke bars beside each other going full blast all at the same time
Camotes Island Cost Index
(US$1 = Php 49.82 as of Jan 15, 2017)
PHP 100 habal-habal ride from Consuelo Port to San Francisco
PHP 55 Pale Pilsen beer
PHP 10/pax regular fare for habal-habal within San Francisco
PHP 500/tour habal-habal rate for island tour up to 2 pax
PHP 800/tour tricycle rate for island tour up to 4 pax
Cebu City to Camotes Island
via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Danao to Camotes Island
via Consuelo - at the Danao Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
via Poro - at the Danao Port, take the Super Shuttle Ferry for Poro (Camotes), P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 9:00am and 5:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
Camotes Island to Danao
via Consuelo - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
via Poro - take the Super Shuttle Ferry in Poro (Camotes) for the Danao Port, P?/pax, 3 hours, daily trip - 5:00am and 1:00pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).